Police departments across the country are warning about the “48-hour challenge” that dares teenagers to disappear for two days. But, based on local news sources around the United States, there are no examples of people doing the challenge.
Police departments from Charlotte, North Carolina to Sacramento, California have warned parents about the challenge with similar messages. Fox 4 in Kansas City, Missouri summed up the challenge this way in a recent story, “A new social media challenge is gaining popularity among teens but not so much with police. Although teenagers might think the newest social media challenge is cool, the ‘48-Hour Challenge’ only does two things: causes panic in parents and wastes valuable law enforcement resources.”
None of the stories include actual examples of teens going missing based on the challenge, and many include a line similar to this from WMBF in Myrtle Beach, South Carolina: “Police say there’s been no documented instances of participation so far in our area.”
The problem with the challenge, according to the fact-checking site Snopes.com, is that it’s not true. The hoax has been around for several years, Snopes reports, first called the Game of 72 in the United Kingdom, challenging teens to disappear for three days. It has resurfaced a couple times, according to the site.
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“Most articles referenced an individual parent (not police) claiming teenagers were daring one another to ‘go missing for 48 hours.’ References to the challenge were made primarily by social media users and news sites, and we were again unable to find any examples of teen participation on the platforms via which they purportedly ‘dared’ each other to disappear,” according to Snopes.
The site says the hoax came up first in 2015.
Now there’s a new round of warnings coming out from local police departments around the United States over the past couple weeks, but still no actual examples of teens participating in the challenge.